Politics has taken over the pedagogy of medical education in Pakistan - Prof. Lubna Baig

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 SMDC’s Third International Conference-II
Politics has taken over the pedagogy of medical
education in Pakistan - Prof. Lubna Baig
Reasons for change must be communicated and one
must listen to concerns of others - Syeda Kausar Ali

LAHORE: Prof. Junaid Sarfraz along with Prof. Munir Saleemi chaired one of the scientific sessions devoted to Medical Education during the Third International Conference of Shalamar Medical & Dental College held from 1-3rd February 2019.This session was moderated by Prof. Shed Hasan Shoaib.

Dr. Syeda Kausar Ali from Jinnah Sindh Medical University was the first speaker who talked about Managing and sustaining stress. Change she pointed out is not always welcomed. She then referred to the obstacles to change and said that stability is needed for a change. Too many initiatives are a disaster. One size does not fit all. We must learn some lessons from the past experience. It is important to provide environment for a change and it does not come with directives. The senders and receives are not at the same page. There is a need for proper communication which is extremely important. Reasons for a change have to be communicated. One must listen to the concerns of others. It is also important that one does not react to resistance. Provide the needed support and get key opinion leaders on your side. Create collective purpose and enhance energy flow in the staff. During the change some people pull, some push and there may be others who will support you, she added.


PROF. Lubna Baig

Prof. Lubna Baig Pro VC Jinnah Sindh Medical University talked about who is guilty of wounding the medical education in Pakistan. She first highlighted the dismal state of health indicators of Pakistan, leading causes of adult death in Pakistan, problems with the PM&DC, problems of infrastructure. Nobody talks about quality but it is all about the numbers. We are now trying to bring a change in the curriculum. Instead of counting the chairs and tables in medical schools, we must talk about the treatable diseases. Quality should be judged by the product coming out of these medical colleges. She was of the view that it was the Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, leadership of the institutions, HEC, PM&DC, bureaucrats and politicians including the judiciary all were trying to bring a change. Students as well as faculty are regulated by the PM&DC in Pakistan but nowhere else. At present we have 116 medical colleges and fifty nine dental colleges. Frequent policy change and new rules and regulations for accreditation keep on creating more and more problems. There is lack of continuity. At present there is no communication between researchers and policy makers. In fact politics has taken over the pedagogy of medical education in Pakistan.

Continuing Prof. Lubna Baig highlighted the importance of continuation in policies and taken on board the medical educationists. It is essential that all the stake holders are involved in making policies. We need to follow educational principles and assess our graduates in practices. Politics should not take over medical education. We need to develop our own standards. There is no need to make different groups. Let us learn from the previous experiences. She made a passionate appeal that let us all work together and desist from making our own Guilds.

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Editor of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences was the next speaker whose presentation was on Sudden Death of a Manuscript. He discussed in detail the reasons for not accepting manuscripts for further processing after initial screening or editor’s triage. These included authors inability of follow the instructions for authors, serious deficiencies in the manuscript, lack of essential documents like EC/IRB approval, Letter of Undertaking signed by all authors confirming exclusive submission, flaws in methodology, failure to arrange processing fee, too many submissions received by the journals, lack of experts in the reviewers database in certain disciplines and even the editor’s bias, he stated, also plays some role in accepting manuscripts for further processing. The editors have to look at their readership and its interests. At times constraints of human and financial resources are also responsible for such a decisions as Editors do not want to accept manuscripts which they cannot manage in time. Such decisions are not welcomed by the authors. Editors, he further stated, have to work under lot of pressure, stress and strain. The authors are the most dangerous pressure group which the Editors have to face as the authors wish to get their manuscripts published soon after submission though processing manuscripts takes lot of time i.e. formatting, plagiarism check, internal and external review about which most of the authors are not aware of.

Dr. Shazia Rasul spoke about assessment of professionalism in medical students. She enrolled first and final year students in the study. The issues which were discussed and highlighted included issuance of false medical certificates, respect for others. The students mentioned calls for urgent patient care, focus on honesty, integrity, altruism and excellence

Panel Discussion on Inter
professional education.

This was followed by a panel discussion on Interprofessional education. The panelists included Dr. Syed Moyn Ali, Prof. Lubna Baig, and Mrs. Naseem Baig from School of Nursing, Dr. Hashim and Dr. Shazia Rasul. It was pointed out that patient care is a team work hence barriers should be removed. It is essential to have better understanding and collaboration between all the healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedics. Inter professional education should be implemented. Time has come that we must seriously think about implementing it but implement with caution. We must provide resources for a change and implement it. Doctors and nurses should provide care and cure. We have an acute shortage of nurses in Pakistan and we are not providing care that we should to our patients. There is lack of nursing care. Professional behaviour and communication skills are common for all. Each one of them must know their responsibilities. All healthcare professionals should start socializing. Many healthcare professionals, it was pointed out, do not know much about physiotherapy. Doctors do not know much about it since medical students never come to the physiotherapy units during their training. It is important that medical students are exposed to physiotherapy during their training. Physiotherapists should be involved in emergency care and geriatrics.

Prof. Junaid Sarfraz and Prof. Munir Saleemi in their concluding remarks highlighted the importance of inter professional education and working as a team removing all the barriers between doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, paramedics and others involved in patient care.